European shaft: Ukraine's Great Wall
Yatsenyuk's ambitious project could be another long-term construction
Three month ago, Yatsenyuk's government has resigned, and his legacy still remains people’s concern. We are talking about "European shaft," an ambitious project on arrangement of state border with Russia. The plans were changed, the financing was cut, and it became obvious that the project would be delayed.
The first draft of "The Wall" project was presented by Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, when he served as a head of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration. He has offered to stump up 100 million euros to fund the two-meter (six-feet) high, 25-30 cm (10-12 inch) thick wall of reinforced steel, complete with electronic alarms, trenches and minefields.
September 4, Poroshenko signed a decree on carrying out a unilateral demarcation of the Ukrainian-Russian state border in connection with the existing threats to national security.
November 19, 2014 the Cabinet of Ministers decided to approve the presidential decree on the designation of the line of the Ukrainian-Russian border. The project envisages the construction of trenches, ditches, as well as special facilities. Initially, it was estimated at 8.3 billion USD, but in May 2015, budget was slashed by half. It was decided to abandon the so-called fence alarm system along the Ukrainian-Russian border.
According to the approved plan, almost 2 thousand km of the state border should be equipped with the anti-tank (antivehicle) ditches (4x2 meters), special 5-meters strips for control, and metal observation towers 17 meters in height.
In winter of 2014/2015, the construction of the wall was actually stopped; Yatsenyuk explained it with the tough weather conditions. In the spring of 2015, the work continued.
August 19, 2015 the State Border Service reported about the completion of preparations for a unilateral demarcation. And the length of the excavated trenches mysteriously changed – 380 km in August, 220km in December.
At the beginning of 2016, the Cabinet of Ministers reported on 230 km of anti-tank ditches on the border with Russia, namely in Chernihiv and Kharkiv regions.
"European shaft" project was progressing very slowly, and it became obvious that it would not be finished even in 2018. The final realization of the project was re-scheduled for 2020.
The objective price is not so high – about 2 million USD per kilometer. But the state does not allocate enough money.
In Kharkiv region, there is a 10-kilometer stretch, which is equipped with a "smart" border: a multisensory optical system, video surveillance mechanisms, and special chemical detectors. But this kind of security measures is quite rare.
July 21, MP Olena Sotnyk published photos of the "European shaft" in the Kharkiv region. “Cost: $ 4 billion hryvnia,” she commented.
Yatsenyuk’s "People's Front"party said to all the doubters to apply to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau if they do not believe in appropriate using of the funds.
The State Border Service claims that the foreign delegations favorably commented on what they saw at the border. "In general, over 230 km of anti-tank ditches, 45 km of control strips, 116 km of the lateral lines, and 75 km of security fence were equipped during the last year, as well as observation towers. In addition, special shelters for passengers at the checkpoints were built. Ukraine has also bought four new 4x4 armored vehicle personnel carriers called "Triton."
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